Today we are going to talk about Barbera, and more specifically about a bottle of Barbera that I recently had the opportunity to taste and that has definitely impressed me.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I found Coppo, Barbera d’Asti “Pomorosso” 2006 DOCG ($55) to be one of the best Barbera’s that I have had so far, a wine that is a pleasure to drink and savor sip after sip – a perfect companion for a red meat dinner.
(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)
About the Grape and the Appellations
As you may know, Barbera is a grape variety that is indigenous to the Monferrato district in the north Italian region of Piemonte. The first written references to Barbera date back to the end of the XVIII century. Nowadays it is the most widespread grape variety in Piemonte, from which wines are made that display lively acidity and a deep ruby color. (Note: information on the grape variety taken from Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, Allen Lane 2012)
In Piemonte, Barbera is the main grape of four different appellations:
- Barbera d’Asti DOCG (encompassing an area surrounding the towns of Asti and Alessandria, and requiring the use of 90% or more of Barbera grapes and a minimum aging of 4 months for the base version or 14 months, of which at least 6 months in wood barrels for the “Superiore” version);
- Barbera del Monferrato Superiore DOCG (encompassing the Monferrato district near Alessandria and an area near the town of Asti, requiring the use of 85% or more of Barbera grapes and a minimum aging of 14 months, of which at least 6 months in wood barrels)
- Barbera d’Alba DOC (encompassing an area in the vicinities of the town of Cuneo and requiring the use of 85% or more of Barbera grapes)
- Barbera del Monferrato DOC (encompassing the Monferrato district near Alessandria and an area near the town of Asti, requiring the use of 85% or more of Barbera grapes)
Given its wide distribution, Barbera is produced in a variety of styles, ranging from simpler, “younger” versions that are only aged in steel vats to more structured and evolved versions that are aged in oak barrels, including sometimes barrique casks.
Our Detailed Review
The wine that we are going to review today is Coppo, Barbera d’Asti “Pomorosso” 2006 DOCG.
It falls within the category of the more complex Barbera’s: it is made out of 100% Barbera grapes grown in the 56 HA Coppo estate near the town of Canelli, near Asti (Piemonte). It has 13.5% ABV and is aged for 14 months in barrique casks. In the U.S., it retails for about $55.
Let me say outright that the Pomorosso is a great, structured red wine, that is suitable for several years of aging (the 2006 vintage that I had was a symphony of aromas, flavors and balance).
But let’s go more in the specifics through a technical wine tasting. As usual, I will use a simplified version of the ISA wine tasting protocol that we described in a previous post: should you have doubts as to any of the terms used below please refer to that post for a refresher.
In the glass, the 2006 Pomorosso poured ruby red and thick.
On the nose, its bouquet was intense, complex and fine with a sequence of aromas of violet, plums, blueberries, cherries, tobacco and chocolate.
In the mouth, the Pomorosso was dry, warm, smooth; fresh, tannic and tasty. It was a full-bodied, perfectly balanced wine and its mouth flavors were intense and fine, showing good correspondence with its bouquet as well as a perfect integration of the oaky notes released by its barrique aging. Its tannins, although very discernible, were also equally gentle and supple, with their delicate astringency counterbalancing the wine’s lively acidity. The Pomorosso had a long finish, with its flavors pleasantly lingering in the mouth for a very long time. Its evolutionary state in my view was mature, meaning that, with 7 years of aging under its belt, it was at or approaching its peak in terms of quality, making me think that additional aging, while certainly possible, would not likely improve its quality any further.
As usual, if you have tasted Pomorosso before, let me know how you liked it!